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Backpacker Magazine – March 2010

Destination Alaska: Lost Lake, Chugach Mountains

Bring plenty of supplies to this alpine plateau in the Chugach Mountains–you'll want to extend your stay.

by: Steve Howe

Lost Lake (Ron Niebrugge)
Lost Lake (Ron Niebrugge)

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ALASKA SPECIAL SECTION

See photos, watch videos, and download GPS tracks to a ton of Alaska trips.


This 15-mile thru-hike requires no arduous bushwhacking, delivers you quickly to spectacular alpine terrain, has a simple shuttle, and serves as a gateway to big-mountain exploring. The easy-to-follow Primrose Trail, just off the Seward Highway south of Kenai Lake, climbs through thick pine forest and emerges onto rocky ridgelines with views of looming 5,710-foot Mt. Ascension and the massive Snow River Valley to the east. Continue to Lost Lake, at mile six, and cast for rainbows on open tundra at 1,920 feet elevation.

Your basecamp: a pond 1.5 miles west of the lake, which has the best solitude, up-close vistas of the glaciers on Mt. Ascension, and days’ worth of tundra hikes through the alpine valleys of Martin, Primrose, Ship, and Boulder Creeks. Tip: Hike this route from the north for the best views, but start from the southern Lost Lake trailhead in bad weather, to avoid rain-laden headwinds off of the gulf.

The Way Primrose trailhead: Take Primrose Spur Road, at milepost 16 on the Seward Highway. Lost Lake trailhead: milepost 6, Seward Highway.

Contact dnr.alaska.gov/parks


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READERS COMMENTS

Lew Shelley
Apr 20, 2012

One of my all time favorite hikes but treat the fragile tundra with care. Leave No Trace! I was with a group here years ago and we camped up near the lake. We were hit with about nine inches of rain in 24-36 hrs.!

Mike Hayward
Apr 19, 2012

A great hike but the photo here is not Lost Lake. It is high up with no trees around. Sometimes the lake stays frozen all through the summer.Mt. Ascession is a great view!

Anonymous
Apr 19, 2012

If you start the Lost Lake Trail from Seward which heads north, the trail will divide having a "Summer Trail" (5mls long offering fantastic views) and a "Winter Trail." (3mls, wet and steep) I recommend taking the Summer Trail up and then taking the Winter Trail down if you want to expedite your trip back to the car. Do bring bear spray!

Michael Jimenez
Apr 19, 2012

I did the Lost Lake Trail with the family and used the Glen Clemens Cabin as basecamp. The cabin faces the Bay of Seward and is about half way up the mountain trail before you descend to Lost Lake. This primitive cabin is the only rentable cabin on the mountainside so there's plenty of solitude available! It rents for about $40.00 a night and does have propane heating available. The alpine meadow is completely surrounded by wildflowers during summer solstice and the picture perfect lakes offer you plenty of drinking water, but watch for silt build-up on your water pump filter. The most memorable part of this trip was flying a prism trick kite on the summit of the trail before descending on to Lost Lake. The view is breathtaking and includes Seward Bay, tons of wild flowers, an occassional black bear and snow caped mountain ranges on either side of the trail. You'll feel as if you're flying your kite on top of the world!

Russ
Nov 30, 2010

Lost Lake is in the Kenai Mountains not the Chugach Mountains.

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